CARTER OPPOSES EXPANDING GOVERNMENT RUN HEALTH CARE
U.S. Congressman John Carter (TX-31), House Republican Conference Secretary, released the following statement opposing the Democrats' bill reauthorizing the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). The program, originally created by Republicans in 1997, was designed to help children in low-income families obtain government health care. According to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat proposal would extend this coverage to families making up to $83,000 a year, almost four times the poverty level.
"I strongly support renewing the SCHIP program so that children in low-income families can have access to good health care, but I don't believe that the Democrat proposal to increase taxpayer-funded health care to families who make over $80,000 is a step in the right direction. In fact, it is a huge step backwards. This bill not only provides government health care to upper-income families, but it also provides government benefits to adults, taking away limited resources from needy kids which the program was originally intended to protect.
"I have long been an advocate against illegal immigration. This bill opens the door for SCHIP and Medicaid benefits for illegal immigrants by drastically weakening a requirement that persons applying for the benefits show proof of citizenship. In no way should we reward those who illegally come into America by paying for their health care at the expense of the taxpayer. If anything, this bill undermines our border security efforts and imposes a tax increase on legal hard-working Texans.
"In order to pay for the massive expansion of a government-run health care program, the Democrats' proposal hikes tobacco taxes by 61 cents per pack, once again proving that Democrats are harming the very low-income families they are claiming to protect. This is simply bad policy. The number of smokers in this country is declining and a tobacco tax increase will cause even less smokers resulting in tax revenues to decrease even more sharply. A study by the Heritage Foundation estimates that funding the SCHIP expansion with tobacco taxes would require 22 million new smokers over the next 10 years, creating another health care crisis.
"I said it before and I will say it again. The Democrats have continually expressed in large amounts their desire to have the government's hand in your health care. This is America, and I believe that we can do better than government-funded, government-mandated health care programs. The President has already said he will veto this flawed bill, and with only five days until the Sept. 30th expiration date, I hope we can put politics aside and stay committed to the 6.6 million low-income children who desperately need this program. I remain committed to renewing this program to provide low-income children with the health care they need without dramatically expanding the size of the American government."